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Ex-priest pleads no contest to molestation

Jan. 14, 2013 at 4:23 PM

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Retired priest Neil Doherty pleaded no contest in a Florida court to six charges of molesting boys, and faces 12 to 15 years in prison, court records show.

Broward County Circuit Judge Kenneth Gillespie accepted the plea deal Monday and will render sentencing Jan. 28. Doherty, 69, who served at Archdiocese of Miami churches in Margate, Fort Lauderdale and Miami was charged with lewd or lascivious molestation, lewd acts in the presence of a child and sexual battery on a victim younger than 12, court documents said.

He has a long list of accusers who claim he used his position to drug and rape them, accusations dating back to the 1970s but only recently coming to light, The Miami Herald reported Monday, noting most of the criminal charges could not be filed because the statute of limitations has passed for the alleged incidents.

Doherty continued to serve as a priest until he was placed on administrative leave in 2002

Several civil cases against Doherty have been settled out of court, the first ending with a $100 million award to the victim, the newspaper said.

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